Natural Remedies to help with Arthritis

Arthritis News

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and often referred to as "wear and tear" of the joints of the body. The surface of the joint is damaged and the cartilage which lines the bones and acts as a sort of "shock absorber" is worn away and the surrounding bone grows thicker mainly affecting knees, hips, hands and the spine.  Many people turn to natural remedies to help manage the condition in order to reduce their intake of drugs, some of which have unpleasant side effects.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:

• Joint pain that is worse with movement and better with rest
• Stiffness in the morning after a period of inactivity
• Swelling of the joints
• Joints that are warm to the touch
• A crunching or cracking when the joint moves
• Limited range of movement
• Muscle weakness
• An abnormal growth of bony growths near the joint

Nutrition and Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis include:

 Glucosamine & Chondroitin - these are substances that occur naturally in the cartilage of the body and are shown to help reduce inflammation. Many people report a reduction in pain and increase in range of movement similar to the effects produced by anti inflammatory drugs containing Brufen which can produce undesirable side effects
 Green Lipped Mussel - Trials have shown it to be effective when taken with paracetamol and anti inflammatory drugs but unsure of exact mode of action
 Antioxidants are helpful in the management of osteoarthritis as they relieve oxidative stress on the body as well as inflammation caused by free radicals. Free radicals can be made in the joints and they can cause degenerative changes in the ageing body, including destruction of cartilage and connective tissue. Antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C & E and beta carotene can help reduce the symptoms

Herbal Remedies for Osteoarthritis include:

 Devils Claw - Extracts from the plant block pathways which cause joint inflammation. Trials show it appears to help with pain control but not clear of mode of action
 Evening Primrose Oil - Rich in polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids that can help in the regulation of pain and inflammation
• Borage seed oil – as above
• Willow Bark- converted to salicylic acid in the body helping to relieve pain and discomfort
• Pine Bark Extract – Taken as capsules Pycnogenol and thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
• Stinging Nettle – can be used topically or taken as a capsule for pain relief
 Golden Rod -  thought to have anti-inflammatory properties
 Turmeric is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties
 Ginger- anti-inflammatory plus contains salicylates which help with pain
 Fish Oils - Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties
• Indian Frankincense- used in Indian Ayurvedic Medicine and thought to have anti-inflammatory properties
 Arnica - topically applied for pain control and reducing of inflammation
 MSM - a rich organic Sulphur acting as a building block for healthy bones and joints sold as capsules and found to be most effective when used with Glucosamine
 Rosehip - Contains Vitamin C which has antioxidant properties and also anti-inflammatory properties

Osteoarthritis can severely affect Quality of Life by reducing mobility and ability to carry out normal functions of daily living. This is a chronic, degenerative condition and individuals need to investigate ways of living with the condition.  Conventional medicine will include the use of pain killers of varying strengths and anti inflammatory drugs. Some people will be offered steroid injections or joint replacement surgery whilst others opt to try osteopathy, acupuncture and other complementary therapies to assist with the symptoms. Trials testing natural remedies are in their infancy and although initial results are promising it is not possible to say which products will best suit each individual so there is an element of "trial and error" to find which is the best for you. 

Most products need to be taken for a number of weeks before any results are seen and it is recommended that only best quality, reliable brands are used as opposed to cheaper products advertised on the internet.